Seattle participates in the international “March Against Monsanto”

5/23/15

Activists in Seattle joined farmers, food justice workers, and advocates for organic fruits and vegetables as they rallied at Westlake Park before marching to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Divestment from Monsanto was a direct request of the demonstrators to Bill Gates, but the Trans Pacific Partnership and it’s impact on climate and food justice, was another topic of conversation. Speeches were given on the importance of bees, the struggles of Sakuma farm workers, and attendees were urged to boycott Driscoll’s fruits as well. A table top example of “aquaponics” was set up at the rally, in addition to free bags of seed balls, and copious amounts of literature on the possible dangers of GMO’s and the long and twisted history of Monsanto, from Agent Orange to Roundup. Demonstrators marched with colorful signs and banners and chants of “hell no GMO” could be heard through the streets of downtown Seattle. Followed closely by SPD on bicycles, and led by a phalanx of SPD on motorcycles, the peaceful march was joined by families and activists of all ages.

From the “March Against Monsanto” Facebook event page…

It’s time for another BIG rally & march!
MAY 23rd at Westlake Park for #MAM!

Join thousands of folks from the greater Seattle region, all over Cascadia, as we say NO to the terrible biotech/bigAgra models presented by Monsanto. There is a better way!

We’ll be sharing educational info about the dangers their products create. How these toxins affect our soil & waterways, can pose a threat to bees & other pollinators, & affect the health of our children. We’ll discuss the basic agricultural economics that just don’t make sense and share info about Urban Farming and things that do!

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Schedule of Events Includes:

*12 NOON Rally at Westlake — Speakers from Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ), WAMend, Educating the Gates Foundation, Beacon Food Forest, and more. Plus live music. (See below)

* 2:30 PM — March from Westlake to The Gates Foundation for protest, smaller rally and speak-outs! (march time is approx.)

Music at rally featuring:
Gary Kanter – humorist and political irritant!
Seattle Raging Grannies – political choral fun for everyone!
ATOMIC BALLROOM! – local alt rockers who believe in Food Freedom!
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Join us to Stand Up for #Biodiversity, #SafeFood, #Organic #FamilyFarmers & your “Right to Know” what’s in our food! We’ll be protesting the ongoing attempt to pass the DARK Act, and demand that The Gates Foundation divest from #Monsanto.

Invite Invite Invite!!! Please, bring a friend with you who NEEDS to know MORE about this topic.

***Bring the Kids, this is a Family-Friendly event!***

Check the posts below for announcements about Work Parties and other ways YOU can get involved. Or send a message to the page admins at Seattle March Against Monsanto to find out more!

Don’t just March Against Monsanto, Bee Against Monsanto. Everyday. Plant It Forward! Check out our friends at #BAM to see what they’re doing to support the annual #MAM event! Thanks to OCA- Organic Consumers Association for their support again this year.

Got a link to share? You can help educate others right on this event timeline. Check back often and post your pix after the rally and march!” – https://www.facebook.com/events/773432106077410/

Washington teachers speak out in protest of shrinking education budgets

Thousands of teachers, students, future students, and parents, joined together in a rally and march in a “rolling strike” to demand fully funded education. The demonstrators marched from Seattle Center near the Space Needle, to Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. They were met with cheers and waves from the protest friendly sidewalk as they passed workers and tourists (and an occasional friendly honk from a “Ride the Ducks” duck). The energy was high as children and adults in support of quality education through smaller class sizes and higher wages for school employees marched through the city. State senator Jamie Pedersen was found marching hand and hand with his two children and said he supported higher taxes to fund education through “repealing the 1% gap on property tax increases, that’s responsible for almost all of our shortfall.”

Seattle teacher, Jesse Hagopian writes on his blog, http://www.iamaneducator.com…

“Educators are walking out of the public schools in Seattle on Tuesday, May 18th, joining a one day rolling strike wave of educators unions around the state with a powerful message for the State Legislature: Fully fund education. These educators will be joined by many parents and students who are asking that the Washington State Legislature do what is not only right, but what is lawful.

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the that State Legislature is in violation of state law and has mandated that they add billions of extra dollars to fund eduction. Moreover, Washington State voters have approved I-1351 which would reduce class size around the state, yet the legislature is preparing to ignore that law.  To make matters worse, the Washington State Legislature is getting ready to take an 11% raise, even while educators have had their voter approved cost of living adjustment revoked for the past six years, and now only offer educators a 1.8% increase.”

Activists blockade Port of Seattle Terminal 5 in protest of Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer

More demonstrations were held at the Port of Seattle today as hundreds of activists from across the Pacific Northwest came together in the early morning hours to protest Shell’s future plans for drilling in the Arctic. Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, sits in the Duwamish River, at the mouth of Elliott Bay, awaiting it’s trip to the Arctic Sea. Protestors gathered around 6:30 am at the Duwamish fishing pier and began marching towards Terminal 5 over the Spokane St. Bridge, flanked on both sides by rows of Seattle Police on bicycles. Activists blockaded two entrances while listening to speakers, musicians, and danced to a DJ in the middle of the street. Coffee was provided by Black Coffee Co-op and pizza was ordered by supporters in New York and Florida while Food Not Bombs provided vegetarian options. Children and activists chalked the streets while groups mingled and discussed a vast array of climate related issues. At approximately 2:30 pm, the demonstrators marched back to their starting location for a final rally. No arrests or injuries were reported.

From the Facebook event page…

WHEN: May 18; Meet @ 7 AM
WHERE: Duwamish River Fishing Dock (On Harbor Island parallel to Spokane Street)
WHAT: A day of mass nonviolent direct action + rally.
WHO: You!
WHY: To stop Arctic drilling and take a stand against companies like Shell who profit from climate chaos.

Meet at the Duwamish Fishing Dock at 7:00 – it’s a small boardwalk along Spokane Street on the east side of Harbor Island. We will have a very brief program and then march to Shell’s rigs and nonviolently shut down operations for the day.

PARKING: There is parking under the West Seattle Bridge, and off of Marginal Way in West Seattle. Alternatively you could park on Harbor Ave SW in West Seattle or in SODO and walk to the meet-up site.

We encourage as many people as possible to prepare and train for nonviolent action. Trainings the week of the action will be posted here: https://shellno.org/trainings.php

Take the pledge of resistance at http://shellno.org/ and learn more about who we are and how you can get involved! Don’t live in Seattle, but want to come? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too! You’ll find all the information you need on our website.

#YouShellNotPass
On January 8, we learned that Shell will be hosting their Arctic drilling rigs in Terminal 5 of the Port of Seattle. That same day the journal Nature published an article saying that Arctic oil MUST be left in the ground in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. Drilling for Arctic oil is an open attack on people in the global south, who are already losing communities to rising seas and extreme weather. It could also spell disaster for one of the most unique wilderness areas on the planet and all of its inhabitants.

Shell’s rigs will arrive as we mark the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. We need a massive peaceful resistance to confront Shell, and the systems of colonialism, racism, and capitalism that drive climate chaos.

From May 16 to May 18, join us in Seattle for three days of creative, people-powered resistance to Shell and the climate crisis. We will converge on the Seattle waterfront by land and sea, transforming Terminal 5 and Harbor Island into a festival of resistance that will nonviolently block Shell’s preparations for Arctic drilling.

While we confront Shell, we stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples and people of color who endure the brunt of extraction and climate chaos.

We will unite in creative action, including a mass water-based blockade, and an event focused on working to honor our connections with this beautiful and complex planet. These events will build to a day of Mass Direct Action on Monday, May 18, when we will use nonviolent action to SHUT DOWN SHELL and all operations related to their Arctic expedition.

Shell’s drilling rigs are a prime example of the root causes and injustice of the climate crisis. They will generate untold wealth for the few, while wrecking the climate for everyone, trampling on indigenous rights, and causing millions of deaths in the global south.

Fifteen years after the WTO protests, we will remind the world that corporations like Shell that abuse human, environmental, and labor rights are not welcome in Seattle. We are fighting for a world where we can all provide for our families without risking our health, planet, or future generations.

The fossil fuel economy of exploitation is over. A new world is within our reach. Rise up. Resist. Join us in Seattle!” – #YouShellNotPass Day of Mass Nonviolent Direct Action!

Hundreds of “kayaktivists” join flotilla in Elliott Bay to protest Shell’s arctic drilling rig in Seattle’s port

Under grey skies and on calm waters, hundreds of activists in kayaks paddled alongside Indigenous canoe families, sailboats of all sizes, paddle boards, inflatable boats, and other small watercraft to protest Shell’s Polar Pioneer, currently moored at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5.

As kayaktivists began to arrive, boats were lined up and wetsuits donned. After a few last minute instructions and reminders about safety zones and kayaking tips, kayaks and canoes were launched. As hundreds of kayaks linked together in a flotilla, a path was made for the West Seattle Water Taxi and a watchful eye was kept by both Seattle Police, Seattle Fire Department, and the Coast Guard. A barge was set up with amplified sound and enough solar panels to power a large house, as a program was held on the water by native speakers and singers.

Native canoe families led the flotilla to the mouth of the Duwamish River, where ring of small watercraft was formed outside the 100 yard safety zone and activists chanted and sang songs of protest, as a large banner was unfurled and floated across the mouth of the river in front of the rig. The floating protestors formed around the Indigenous canoes to hear speakers discuss the threats facing native communities due to climate change.

Kayaktivists then followed the native canoes as permission was asked and granted to beach their canoes and walk on Duwamish land. A program with music and speakers followed soon at Jack Block Park. More events are planned in the next few days.

From the ShellNo Flotilla ~ Paddle in Seattle! Facebook event page

“Join our fun family-friendly flotilla on the water around Shell’s GIANT oil rigs.

Come together with thousands of others who give a damn, for an adventurous afternoon full of music, art, and entertainment.

There will also be tons of fun and colorful flair happening at Jack Block Park. Because We LOVE landlubbers!

10AM – Kayak Check-In and registration begins
11-12:30 Launch Boats
1PM – On water procession begins
2PM – On-stage program begins at Jack Block Park: 2130 Harbor Ave SW
3:30PM – On-stage program ends and all vessels return to launch sites.

Note: All Kayak Rentals have been reserved. Please come prepared to bring your own boat. If you have an extra boat please bring it as we will have a tent set up for folks to meet and borrow boats.

Kayak instructors will help orient individuals with limited experience. We’ll have trained safety coordinators out on the water keeping kayaktivists safe.

And if you would like to help before, during, or after the event, let us know here:http://tinyurl.com/qbck83u

PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY. We encourage public transit. Traffic will be very congested and may take 30-45min longer than normal. There will also be a free shuttle from the West Seattle Junction (see map below on the timeline for location and schedule)

See more info and map of locations here: https://shellno.org/paddle-in-seattle.php

If you’re a landlubber you can take part in the festivities at Jack Block park at 2130 Harbor Ave SW.

This is the event page for the first day of our three-day Festival of Resistance to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans! This festival will take place on May 16, 17, and 18.

Find out more at www.shellno.org

From the Idle No More ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea Facebook event page

“…In solidarity with our Alaskan brothers and sisters in the Arctic, and all the Coast Salish tribes who are the original stewards of the Salish Sea we come together in a good way to unify in Spirit for prayer, ceremony, and songs to bring a peaceful resolution to preserve and protect the Arctic from the proposed drilling by Shell.

We invite all our Native brothers and sisters to join us in support of not allowing Royal Dutch Shell to use the Port of Seattle Terminal #5 for their drilling rigs, stopping the drilling in the Arctic, and how could we instead support sustainable energy sources. We must ask how can we support Alaska Natives in finding other sources of revenue and work that is not devastating to their traditional way of life, contribute to climate change, and rising sea levels…”

Hundreds attend a Black Lives Matter demonstration in solidarity with Baltimore

5/9/15

The streets of Seattle held hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching in solidarity with those protesting the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police in Baltimore, MD. Demonstrators held intersections while those who wished to speak addressed the crowd through a megaphone on issues of police brutality in cases around the nation and in Seattle.

From the event Facebook page…

“Enough is Enough

Freddie gray is dead because the police BEAT HIM AND BROKE HIS SPINE AND DENIED HIM MEDICAL ATTENTION ,which caused him to die. Now The Baltimore Maryland POLICE have blood on their hands and Baltimore Maryland is on fire because Police across the nation have been exterminating Blacks like the Nazis exterminated people week after week for months on end–THIS HAS TO STOP-TIME TO MARCH ON SEATTLE AND PUT A END TO the POLICE BRUTALIZING PEOPLE AND The police MURDERING PEOPLE

WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND BE UNITED AS ONE AGAINST injustice ,racism,oppression,police brutality and get JUSTICE FOR Freddie Gray and be in solidarity with Baltimore Maryland

INVITE EVERYONE YOU KNOW

Family friendly— come rain or shine

Media relations–206-334-6007

location updates -text-206-334-6007

Questions— contact justice4mikebrownsea@hotmail.com

#BaltimoreUprising #blacklivesmatter #SolidarityWithBaltimore

#SeattleInSolidarityWithBaltimore

#RekiaBoyd #FreddieGray #MyaHall” – https://www.facebook.com/events/1618895154991208/

Seattle Police Department questioned about May Day tactics by city council member Bruce Harrell

Wednesday May 6th, 2015

City Council member Bruce Harrell, chair of public safety, civil rights, and technology was joined by council members Licata and Bagshaw to discuss the “May Day events and the demonstrations and the pubic safety response as a result of that”. Members of the public signed up to make public comment and their audio can be heard below. SPD commanders Steve Wilske and Chris Fowler were also on hand to answer questions and you can hear them beginning at the 36:10 mark.

Audio Recoring: May Day Police Response – Public Comment, City Council Members Harrell, Bagshaw, Licata, and SPD Commanders Wilske and Fowler 150506_0088

I’ve taken a few excerpts from the audio recording and quoted them below.

“My philosophy mirrors the department philosophy…We will do everything we can to facilitate peoples peaceful expression of first amendment free speech rights but we will immediately respond if there are acts of violence against any person or acts that constitute significant property damage. This philosophy was transmitted to every officer that worked this event from me to Captain Fowler to them in specific order that that is our philosophy on this event.” – Wilske

Incident Commander was Chris Fowler

Asked for and received assistance from Bellevue PD, the Valley team or Valley unit, (Tukiwila, Renton), King County Sherriffs office, University of Washington – Steve Wilske (No mention of Port of Seattle Police)

Chirs Fowler spoke on the anti-capitalist march, he arrived at 6pm.

“between 75-100-150 individuals gathered inside the park wearing what we would consider um anti-capitalist um anarchist, whatever the terminology may be used…it was masks, it was head coverings, um and a lot of the signs, black flags. Just a much larger group of people in that vein, that I had seen before certainly not since the WTO, not being pejorative with that statement…” – Fowler

“the mood of this crowd appeared to be more potentially confrontational” – Fowler

“Our first goal is to support and enhance a peaceful march for the protesting and first amendment, free speech rights, which is how we ended up initially deploying, to support that.” – Fowler

“The crowd became assaultive, the officers made the arrest at that point and they started hitting the officers with sticks and at about that point on the crowd  changed from one of a demonstration into what I termed eventually a riot.”- Fowler

I saw was marchers just marching and I saw what looked like a police officer on a bike ram them…I’m just telling you honestly what I saw. It looked unprovoked, and then after that, I’ll call it sort of a tackling if you will, it was like a ramming, then several other officers did it, and then all melee broke out and there was pepper spray. Things went completely sideways.” – Harrell

“…That seemed like the first act of violence, the first act of unfairness, followed by melee and I don’t know what provoked that and I have a hard time understanding that otherwise…” Harrell

“Not being there, and I haven’t talked to specific officers, but there was probable cause to arrest that individual, and again, the philosophy is always been in peaceful protest, but when people commit acts of violence or serious property damage, then we want them to take action and make that arrest. Those officers at the scene developed that probable cause. They quickly formed an appropriate plan to manage arresting that individual based on the configuration of the crowd. They made that arrest. They surrounded the arrestee, and the officers who were doing that physical arrest, making it safer not only for them but for the rest of the crowd.” – Fowler

“I guess what I’m having a hard time understanding, is why that was the chosen path to arrest. It seems like that created a melee… He wasn’t in the present act of committing a crime, he wasn’t running away, he wasn’t hiding, and it seemed like we could have been a little smarter on our approach…” Harrell

“Wouldn’t you agree that a person on a bicycle, trying to arrest someone while on a bike, from behind, is…it does seem a little idiotic” – Harrell

“The officers determined based on what had gone on up to that point, based on the assault on the officer and based on the crowd size which at that point was approximately 500 to 700. That that was the most tactically reasonable and safe way to make that arrest.” – Fowler

(The crowd grew from 150-500 in 30 minutes?)

If someone is willing to assault a police officer, I think it’s reasonable to infer that they would assault other people…The arrest that immediately followed the assault makes sense to me for the officers to arrest that person and prevent any future violence.” -Wilske

“Our department are said to be the experts on deescalation, the experts on smart policing, reasonable force,…there seems to be a better way to approach this” – Harrell

“On the use of flash bangs…there doesn’t seem to be an established policy on the use of flash bangs… what is the instruction on how to use, what are we telling our force on the use of flash bangs” – Harrell

“We don’t use flash bangs, what we use is what’s called a blast ball” – Wilske

“…We have specially trained officers on the department, it’s fairly limited number. We do annual training, our lead trainer in this is a nationally recognized expert in the use of these tools or less lethal devices. The training consists of a power point presentation and classroom instruction, a test to ensure you have proper knowledge of when and when not to use it, and a practical test to show that you can deploy it properly….These are small numbers of hand picked officers…” – Wilske

40 officers are trained to use blast balls, 28 are trained to use “blue tipped impact sponges” or 40mm launchers aka “direct impact, which just means it specifically targeted a particular person” – Wilske

“Does the training suggest you can just throw it up in the air? These devices are hitting people. Is that consistent with the training our officers are trained to do… Are they designed to be thrown in the air, at people, or on the ground?” – Harrell

You try for open areas, but again, people can move, so you try for open areas around people, but then again, people can move.” – Wilske

“When they hit people, is that inconsistent with our policy? – Harrell

“The blast ball is not intended as a direct munition against an individual. It’s intended to manage crowd control situations.” – Fowler

“The other one is a direct impact munition which is aimed at an individual.” – Fowler

Bruce Harrell also asked for exact numbers for “blue tipped impact sponges” fired and “blast balls” used. The SPD doesn’t have immediate information regarding those exact numbers.

“Up until the bike incident, I don’t think we used… blue tipped impact sponges or blast balls…after the bike incident, things went sideways” – Harrell

“…1. What is the policy for using impact sponges, what is the proximity, how many did we use, same thing with the blast balls….More importantly is, it seems like all this occurred after we decided to make an arrest on one person… What’s the smartest use of force?” – Harrell

“All use of force are going to be reviewed” – Wilske

Black Lives Matter demonstrations alive and well with #BaltimoreRising march through South Seattle

Seattle activists return to the streets of Seattle, this time in the South of the city. One group of demonstrators started at the Rainier Community Center while another group met at 23rd and Union in the Central District. The groups converged at Massachusetts St. and Rainier Ave. South after SPD attempted to prevent marching on Rainier Avenue. The more than 150 activists held the intersection for approximately 30 minutes before continuing to Rainier Ave. South and MLK Way where the protest held traffic for over an hour at the intersection as SPD looked on. Speakers ranged from children of color to elders in the community, neighbors to college students, all speaking of oppression and brutality in their communities. There were no known arrests.

From the Facebook event pages…

This Saturday May 2nd is a National Day of Action for Black Lives Matter. Seattle is responding to this vital call from our Brothers and Sisters in Baltimore United and Ferguson Action networks; we will march in solidarity on Saturday as we confront the violence, injustices, and mistreatment that our own Black Community faces here at home by the Seattle Police Department. We are demanding justice for

#RekiaBoyd
#MayHall
#FreddieGrey
All of the Black victims who have been terrorized and murdered by the police.

This will be a space that is intended to commemorate, highlight, grieve, and celebrate Black Lives in our community. We encourage ALL peoples within the Black Community to attend, especially those who often are most marginalized. We also invite allies who are truly in support of calling out law enforcement that is brutally profiling and murdering our Black mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers- to march with us.

“We support all of our emotions, from our bliss to our anger to our grief…We acknowledge that our uprisings are being fueled by the love we have for ourselves and one another. A love that challenges silence, repression, and death.” – #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors-Brignac”

https://www.facebook.com/events/763616517089415/

and

Saturday May 2nd is a National Day of Action for Black Lives Matter in which cities across the nation will be confronting state violence against our people. We’re responding to an urgent call from our comrades in Baltimore United and Ferguson Action who are organizing with us under the Black Lives Matter network.

We stand with our brothers and sisters in Baltimore, Chicago and across the country. We demand justice for #FreddieGrey #RekiaBoyd #MyaHall and all victims of police terrorism.

Instead of flooding Baltimore, organizers have been asked to mobilize locally, so that’s what we’ll continue to do.

BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors-Brignac described the radical Black love of these uprisings well by explaining:

“Black people, we are fully deserving of the room and space to fully express our humanity. That is what #BlackLivesMatter is truly about. We support all of our emotions, from our bliss to our anger to our grief…We acknowledge that our uprisings are being fueled by the love we have for ourselves and one another. A love that challenges silence, repression, and death.”

https://www.facebook.com/events/609654545837523/